Echo & The Bunnymen
Lee Scratch Perry
Asian Dub Foundation
The Prodigy and Beastie Boys were involved in a war of words at the 1998 Reading Festival. The Beastie Boys asked the Prodigy not to include Smack My Bitch Up in their set, claiming that it is offensive – but the Prodigy did play the song and Maxim shouted to the crowd: ”I do what the fuck I want.” Later the Beasties’ Ad Rock commented, ”From where I’m from, it isn’t cool.”.
The strange thing is that Liam actually didn’t want to play at Reading in 1998 – because the whole band was tired (of touring) by the time the gig was held (”Reading was the only show I didn’t want to be at. That show was just a joke.” – Liam)
Maxim: Last night, we’ve received a call from one of the Beastie Boys.
Maxim: Wait a minute hear me out! They didn’t want us to play this funckin’ tune. But the way things go, I do what the fuck I want.
[Large cheer, ‘Smack my bitch up’ intro.]
Contrary to what you might think, the Prodigy and the Beastie Boys have buried the hatchet – at least both bands say this. The B-boys have even let Liam use some of their tracks on his Mix Album – Dirtchamber Sessions.
’ Whatever happened between me and Ad-Rock, there’s no respect lost as far as the music goes. I don’t think anything less of them as musicians over what they’ve done. And basically, if I’m making an old-skool record, it would be stupid of me to not have them on there.’
The Beasties’ Adam Yauch put their side:
’I think it all worked out fine. We just wanted to let the Prodigy know that we felt like that song had a real meaning, has a definite meaning with those lyrics… We were kinda more going to them saying, ’We’ve been through this and we feel weird about this stuff and we’d like to suggest or ask you guys not to play it.’
The band concluded they had decided to let the matter lie, though they still disagreed with the song’s content. (Source: NME)
Report by Michelle Cain:
(…) I took my place in the crowd in anticipation of the Prodigy. After no discernible build up, Britain’s most popular punks crept on stage. Keith was white faced and dark eyed, Maxim was dressed like a catwalk model (ie in unwearable clothes), Leeroy and Liam were the usual. As was their set. Firestarter was unwisely early in the gig; a cover of The Specials’ Ghost Town was included; Poison went down as well as it always does; Serial Thrilla wasn’t as appreciated as it should have been; a fuelled Fuel My Fire was dedicated to the Foo Fighters and Supergrass; and we were invited to dance the Minefield with Leeroy.
By all accounts their performance was spectacular, and they are surely one of the best live acts to see. This gig seemed to be particularly controversial, with abundant expletives, x rated dancing and a dig at the Beastie Boys (AdRock earlier asked them not to play Smack My Bitch Up, but as Maxim so eloquently put it, they can do whatever the **** they want. To which the crowd went mental to the said track. Understandably.). But this not being a headlining slot, the set list had been severed short with no encore: we were thus not as impressed as we could have been, though the end feeling was of having had a good gig.
1. Run DMC Intro
3. Their Law
4. Funky Shit
6. Voodoo Beats
9. Serial Thrilla
11. Smack My Bitch Up
12. Ghost Town
13. Fuel My Fire